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No change to mobile phone usage advice

The Medical Independent (MI) had enquired if any change would be made after two recent high-profile international studies on possible links between mobile phone usage and cancer.

“Presently, we cannot recommend any change in current recommendations from the Chief Medical Officer (CMO) with respect to mobile phone use in the general population (both adult and children),” the NCCP told MI.

The CMO last provided written advice on mobile phone usage to the HSE in 2011.

“Therefore, if there remains concern with respect to exposure to radio frequency energy,” said the NCCP, the “prevailing advice is to make fewer calls, reduce call duration, send text messages instead of calling, use landline phones preferentially, and use a ‘hands-free’ device where possible.”

The NCCP said that worldwide use of mobile phones has rapidly grown over the last 20 years. This is based on data from the International Telecommunication Union; by the end of 2015, the estimated number of mobile phone subscriptions was more than seven billion globally. These devices are known to emit radio frequency electromagnetic fields (EMFs) ranging from 800 to 2,000MHz.

The NCCP also added that “consensus guidance from the National Cancer Institute (NCI) and Health Council of the Netherlands conclude from the evidence that there is no established [risk] associated between long-term and frequent use of mobile phone for an increased risk of brain cancer or head and neck. “

Regarding a recent US National Toxicology Programme study, the NCCP told MI that “this paper shows that there is an increased risk of brain cancers in rodents following exposure to cell phone radio frequency radiation. This study is associated with several limitations, the greatest of which is its lack of peer review, which at present makes it difficult to accept the results.”

In regards a recent Australian study on the topic, the NCCP said: “This paper highlights that after 30 years of mobile phone use in Australia, there is no evidence of any rise in brain cancer in any age group that could be plausibility attributed to mobile phone use. This study is limited mainly by its ecological design, which does not have specific documented individual mobile phone use and outcome.”

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